The most common way to heat and cool Atlanta area homes involves the pairing of a gas furnace with an air conditioner. Furnaces burn natural gas, liquid petroleum or oil to release energy and create heat. A flue is designed to remove harmful gases from the home as result of this combustion process. A circulation blower then draws air through duct work into the unit and after warming distributes through supply ducts into your home. The efficiency rating sometimes called AFUE can vary greatly along with operating expenses. Older units and duct work can waste over 50 cents of every dollar spent. A properly installed condensing furnace can easily pay for itself by bringing 95 cents of every gas dollar spent into your home.
An air conditioner (condenser) is commonly paired with a furnace to cool homes. This unit is generally installed outside and attached by copper lines to an evaporator coil that sits upstream of the furnace blower. A/C’s move a chemical often called refrigerant to remove heat from the conditioned space. The unit’s compressor pushes liquid refrigerant into the indoor evaporator coil where a designed restriction forces a change from liquid to vapor. The indoor blower moves the moist and warm return air across the fins of the coil where the heat is absorbed and the moisture is converted to water. The cooled air is distributed through the supply ducts while a drain system then removes the unwanted humidity from your home. At this point the gas refrigerant is returned to the A/C compressor where the vapor is again converted to a liquid state. This hot liquid is pushed through the exterior fins of the outdoor unit where temperature is cooled with help from the condenser fan. This is considered a closed loop cycle. If your system needs a periodic recharge then there is a leak in your refrigerant cycle.
A properly installed heat pump is one of the most efficient ways you can provide comfort into your home. The unit operates very much like an air conditioner but has a reversing valve that allows heat to be captured outside and brought into your home when needed. This unit heats very well when operating in outdoor temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. During colder temps a secondary heat source often assists. A heat pump is often paired with an electric air handler but can be easily adapted to function with a gas furnace. This is often referred to as a dual fuel system.
High velocity systems offer advantages over conventional units. Installation commonly involves 2” supply ducts. This set up works very well in historic or older homes because of the ability to run duct work in internal walls and spaces that conventional units cannot. Air flow utilizes the venture principle which completely circulates conditioned air throughout rooms eliminating warm and cold spots often associated with conventional systems. Another advantage is increased humidity control. On a large lake front custom home we paired this unit with a conventional air conditioner for cooling and a water coil paired with a tank less water heater to provide warm and moist heat during the winter.
Zoning allows a system to properly control separate floors or areas without sacrificing efficiency. Often times we find home owners shutting off air flow into unused areas in an effort to save money. This practice can actually increase operating costs and prematurely lead to a system breakdown. Proper air flow is essential to maintain efficiency. A zoned system utilizes a primary control board, multiple thermostats and motorized dampers to control different areas of a home. In addition, most models require a bypass damper designed to maintain the critical air flow when supply dampers are closed.
When it comes time to consider replacing your homes heating and air conditioning equipment there are several things to consider. Most salesmen differ to your existing equipment size when quoting replacement. You may be stressed over lack of heat of air during this time and not thinking of much else. The problem is that when things are working again you may realize that all of the previous complaints that you had with the old system still exists. The original system could be improperly sized. Have there been any renovations or home improvements since the original unit was installed?
- Are there some uncomfortable rooms?
- Is there a problem supply blowing over a bed or an irritating noise when the system is operating?
- Are there any unusual odors?
- Does you unit move dust all over the home?
- Do you find that the winter brings sore throats or irritated noses?